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Exhibition

“Interview With Pasolini” By Davide Toffolo

To commemorate the centenary of the birth of writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna, 5th March 1922 – Rome, 2nd November 1975), the Italian Embassy in Belgrade, the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrade and the Viva Comix association present an exhibition entitled Interview with Pasolini, by Davide Toffolo.

The exhibition will include over 70 comic art pages of the homonymous graphic novel – also known as “Pasolini”, in the 2015 Rizzoli Lizard edition – that Toffolo first created in 2002 and which has also been published in French and Spanish. Also on display will be a selection of drawings created by Toffolo on the occasion of the live performance Pasolini, L’incontro, as well as covers of the book’s various editions.

The book sees Toffolo establish an imaginary conversation with Pasolini’s alter ego (a double, perhaps a ghost). The words spoken by Pasolini in the comic are actually derived from essays, interviews and authentic speeches of this intellectual, thus creating an original and captivating introduction to his critical reflection and non-fiction production.

The exhibition project was conceived by Paola Bristot, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and president of the Viva Comix association.

As the curator explains, “Pasolini loved comics and in his artistic research used them for the screenplay of the storyboard of the film La terra vista dalla luna [The Earth As Seen from the Moon]. For a writer who creates comics like Toffolo, this was one of the “hooks” from which to start addressing the works of this Friulian poet. The choice of imagining a character, Mr Pasolini, who introduces himself and, above all, who speaks like the Friulian poet, was a fictional solution that allowed him to continue still active reflections while simultaneously remaining consistent.

“The topics that Pier Paolo Pasolini took on with great intellectual clarity and poetic illumination include his complicated relationship with his father, with the state, but also his passion for cinema, for the shapes of a city and people whose ancient and original beauty he admired. There doesn’t seem to have been much difference between the problems of the past and those of the present day, and indeed many of the problems that Pasolini reflected on remain unsolved: homologation, systems of authoritarianism and making spectacles of culture and communication. These are some of the aspects from which the great popularity of this graphic novel is derived, which gives us an opportunity to observe the power of drawing the comic art pages presented in the exhibition.

These art pages highlight Pasolini’s intense portraits, but also the landscapes of the main places he resided, such as the Friulian countryside, the University Centre of Bologna and the countryside around Rome. Toffolo’s drawings offer an analytical perspective of this exceptional Friulian poet and intellectual, filtered through the eyes and pen of a contemporary comic book author who manages to present his insight through original but faithful and compelling invention.”

The exhibition is being promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy and displayed at Italian institutes of culture around the world. It is one in a series of events dedicated to the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century and his versatile genius. Writer, journalist and essayist, playwright, film director and screenwriter, but also translator and painter, Pasolini left behind a diverse and multifaceted, and sometimes controversial, body of work, and always proved to be a profound observer of the social and cultural changes taking place in Italy after World War II.

The significance of this jubilee is confirmed by the recognition of UNESCO: on 11th November, as a part of the 41st General Conference, UNESCO approved the inclusion of the centenary of the birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini in the 2022-2023 Anniversary Programme, thus joining the celebration.

The formal opening of the exhibition, in the presence of artist Davide Toffolo and curator Paola Bristot, took place on 18th May at the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrade. The exhibition remains open to visitors until 17th June.

DAVIDE TOFFOLO was born in Pordenone in 1965 and is one of Italy’s most important graphic novel authors. He is the author of the books Carnera, Pasolini, Il Re Bianco, Il Cammino della Cumbia, The Graphic Novel is Dead and, most recently, The Last Old Man on Earth, based on the texts of Roman artist and poet Remo Remotti. He is also author of the Cinque Allegri Ragazzi Morti series about this well-known vocalist and guitarist of indie band Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti and, together with Enrico Molteni and Luca Masseroni, co-founder of record label La Tempesta Dischi, which has produced and released a lot of Italian independent music. His public image sees him wearing a mask in the shape of a skull.

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